Sawtell to remember battle

THE Battle of the Coral Sea will be remembered with a service at Sawtell on Sunday.

The Sawtell RSL sub-branch is organising the commemoration for 11am at Lyle Rose RSL Memorial Park in 4th Avenue, but you should be there by 10am.

Between May 4 and 8 in 1942, Australia and the US took on the might of the Japanese Navy in the 'Battle of the Coral Sea'.

A sub-branch spokesman said it was the largest naval battle ever fought near Australia, a battle regarded as a vital turning point in the Pacific in World War II because it stopped the Japanese sea-borne invasion of Port Moresby.

The Japanese plan was to take control of the Pacific by setting up a base in the Solomons and at the same time to take Port Moresby.

With control of the port and airfield in Port Moresby, the Japanese would be free to attack Queensland ports and airfields at Horn Island, Cooktown and Townsville.

The Battle of the Coral Sea was fought entirely by aircraft attacking ships.

The battle was conducted entirely with carrier and land-based aircraft.

Though the Japanese could rightly claim a tactical 'points' victory, it was an operational and strategic defeat for them and more importantly, it was the first time the Japanese had been halted on their southern advance in the Pacific.

Australia's contribution to the Battle of the Coral Sea may not have been as spectacular as that of the American aircraft carriers, but the work by the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia and the light cruiser HMAS Hobart, the coast watchers, intelligence staff, and other support ships, contributed to the final victory.

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